It's hard to imagine any opening ceremony in my lifetime living up to the overwhelming spectacle that was at the Beijing Olympics. Just the sheer magnitude of what they were able to do was mindboggling. That said, while London didn't take my breath away with its big displays, it actually really impressed me by adding a lot of humor to an event that is usually dreadfully serious and filled with tradition. Sure, director Danny Boyle infused the 2012 opening with the proper amount of history (and a tribute to the National Health Service), but it was the quirkier moments that will still be talked about when it is Rio's turn to wow the world in 2016. Here are our favorite moments of the night:
I know that there have been a lot of complaints all over the blogosphere about the tape delay (especially for the West Coasters) used for the Olympics, and even though I don't necessarily agree with the logic used to defend it, it seems futile to keep beating that dead horse. They aren't going to change it, so I just deal with it by avoiding the local news, Twitter updates or Internet sport sites until late at night. However, I do have some other issues with the telecasts, particularly during primetime, that are really starting to take some of the joy out of the Winter Games for me.
As I noted in my preview for this ceremony, there was really no way that this could ever compare to the overwhelming spectacle that was the Beijing Olympics. That was evident right off the bat when instead of giant footprint-shaped fireworks (fake or not) leading up to the venue, we get a snowboarder busting through the Olympic rings. Still impressive in its own right, but lacking the big wow factor. But I'm not going to spend too much time quibbling, especially considering that Bob Coastas at one point said that Vancouver's budget was about $30-40 million dollars compared to the $300-400 million that Beijing spent. And this is the Winter Olympics, which is traditionally smaller in scale anyway. So instead I'm going to focus on how they spent their cash and if it was worth it....
I can't say for sure that the fact that there's nothing live (and a semi-final of beach volleyball does not count at all) is making my enthusiasm for the Olympics wane ever so slightly, but given that some of my favorite sports were airing last night and I wasn't screaming at the TV and cheering along, I'd say that it makes a big difference. Especially if, for instance, you are looking up how to spell a Jamaican athlete's name and just happen to see a big screaming news story that says "Nastia Liukin upset on uneven bars," like I was yesterday. This crap should have spoiler alerts in big letters. Huge. (Speaking of which, during the course of writing this post and trying to figure out how to properly spell the names of pole vaulters, I came across the results of tonight's Olympic balance beam competition. Fan-freakin'-tastic. I'm so angry right now. Not that I'm unhappy with the results, I'm just irritated to know. This is just like the Nagano Olympics and the Tara Lipinski thing all over again. Ugh.) I know it has technically been completed and therefore is not a spoiler, but I didn't have any opportunity to see it on any of the twelve channels playing Olympics all day, every day at my desk, so therefore, it is spoiler alert-worthy. So I spent the entire night basically watching the uneven bars just waiting to see the big judging scandal that has rocked the Olympic world this week.
Trying to have a life and watch as much Olympics primetime coverage as possible don't really work together. Last night I attempted to see a Broadway show and be social with a friend and then go home and watch the Olympics. Let's just say this didn't exactly work out. Not just because I was up until two o'clock in the morning trying to watch the entire primetime broadcast. Not just because I had to skip over a qualifying round of men's beach volleyball in order to finish at a "reasonable" time. But because by the time I got to the end of the airing that I had DVR'd, I discovered that it ran over and into the time slotted for the "news" and I didn't get to watch the Chinese or American Women's Gymnastics team compete in the majority of the floor exercises. TiVo cut off right after Alicia Sacramone fell on her butt, and when I switched to live TV the Team USA girls were all being interviewed about their Olympic silver medal win. Sigh. I try so hard to avoid Olympic "spoilers."
So I'm far from the only person excited the the Olympics are starting tomorrow night, but around here in the TWoP offices I'm pretty much a rarity. My copy of Time with its helpful article on the 100 athletes to watch has garnered me a few quizzical looks, and I quickly have to change the subject to "Hey, did you see what happened on Project Runway last night?" in order to stop them from thinking that I've suddenly turned into a sports obsessed freak. However, I think there are quite a number or events (which I'll be babbling about annoyingly ad nauseam for the next two and half weeks) that I think might actually appeal to my fellow TV junkies out there. While nothing will be quite as fun as The Office's Olympics... this might keep you entertained for a few days at least.
And dish in our forums about the scandals, stories and other wild happenings at the Olympic games.
I am an Olympic junkie (my obsession will probably reach its fever pitch by the time August 8th rolls around, expect lots of rants about scheduling) and I'm already feeling baffled and overwhelmed by the prospect of having to figure out how the new gymnastics judging system is going to work.
I, like many others (there are others, right?), consider myself a bit of a sofa judge. I pay little attention to the popular sporting event in the off years, but by the time it rolls around I feel overly qualified from my sedentary position to critique how well someone performed on the balance beam or if they really stuck their landing.
The Olympics are almost over and we're a little let down and wondering what to do with all our spare time. So we'd like to propose these dream reality shows that would focus on some of the breakout stars of the London 2012 games, keeping the summer Olympic spirit alive for us during the long four-year wait for Rio.
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